Annie Chokelee is a play on Annie Oakley, who was a really good example of how girls can do anything boys can , but it wasn’t my first choice. My middle name is Ann, so I thought Pistol Annie would be cute….This was before I met another skater on my league named Pistol Hips. I had some help picking my name, and thankfully so because I almost got stuck with “Zebra Skates” for the print on my first pair of starter derby skates.
I went through a month of beginner class at the House of Derby years ago and didn’t make the full commitment. Fast forward to 2016. I was talking to a friend about my little time in derby all those years back, and she decided to try it out. I followed a month behind her and never looked back.
I was at a low point in life and stuck in a serious rut. I didn’t have much emotional support and I was just down in general and I needed something to happen to me that made me feel useful. For years I had only had the wives of my husbands friends as my friends and tagged along on the things he liked to do. I needed something just for me.I needed somewhere to go, and something to take up my time and look forward to, and I found my way to South Side Roller Derby.
My why is the same, but has become so much more. Derby is still that thing I do just for me. It’s still something I look forward and it has become something that makes me feel useful and important. I am a part of a team now that counts on me, and that gives me self value and a lot of pride that I just didn’t have before. I have also met the most awesome people who totally get it, and I get to share this crazy derby ride with.
1. Don’t buy the cute zebra skates. They are adorable…but you will want new ones in 3 months.
2. You might not always feel like you fit in, but just when you think that its gotten the better of you, derby magic happens and you realize that YOU being YOU is enough and people are going to like you for it.
3. You’re not going to be perfect at this, or even that good at first. You’re going to fall down, and hard. Each time, it gets easier to get up and before you know it, you are taking hits that don’t completely lay you out. Ya know…sometimes.
4. Wash your gear more than like once a year. You’ll smell like feet and/or get the flesh eating disease otherwise.
5. Lastly, these crazy and hilarious girls are going to become some of your favorite people in the universe. Give all the hugs…laugh all the laughs…and show all the bruises with them.